Coupeville gallery offers peek at past in photo exhibition

  • By Mike Murray / Herald Writer
  • Thursday, December 2, 2004 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

A new exhibit of photographs on Whidbey Island opens a window on our Pacific Northwest past.

The Blue Heron Studio Gallery in Coupeville is showing dozens of photographs of the Seattle area, including scenes on Whidbey Island, taken in the 1920s and 1930s. The black-and-white photos are by Orville Borgersen, a Seattle businessman who became a well-known photographer. The photos range from picture-postcard images of Spirit Lake and Mount St. Helens and Whidbey Island to urban images of Seattle taken during the Great Depression.

Borgersen was a successful businessman who pursued photography as a hobby.

“He was a prominent furrier and had a store on Fifth Avenue,” said Barbara Marks of the Blue Heron Gallery. “He had money and was able to buy a four-by-five camera.”

The photographs were found in a cabin that Borgersen owned on Whidbey Island near Coupeville. He proposed to his wife on the island and it remained a favorite place, Marks said.

Borgersen was born in 1905 and died in 1989. His family was Norwegian, and Borgersen, one of four boys, graduated from the University of Washington. A family member found the photos in the cabin and rescued them, Marks said.

There are photographs of summer waterfront festivals held in Coupeville in the 1930s showing throngs of people downtown and canoe races on the water, maritime scenes and photographs of Northwest Indians.

Borgersen also photographed the gritty side of life, including Seattle’s Hooverville, a Depression-era shanty town of the unemployed located in what is now the SoDo district south of downtown.

Nearly 50 images will be on view. Some have been reproduced as giclee prints on canvas and are numbered, Marks said. There are more boxes of photographs to go through, Marks said, so look for more photos in the gallery in coming months.

The exhibit opens Saturday and runs through December at the gallery, 9 NW Front St. in downtown Coupeville. The gallery is open daily; 360-678-9052.

Sky Valley artists: Watercolorists Clara Russell, Sally Ohlsen and Joan Pinney are the featured artists this month at the Arts of Snohomish Gallery.

“Romantic Realism” is the title of the show, which focuses on the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

The three are part of the Sky Valley School of painters who have worked together for many years, forging personal and artistic friendships while painting.

“They have influenced each other’s work and lives with this friendship and common interest,” Pinney said.

The show opens with a reception from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the gallery, located in the historic Carnegie Library building at 105 Cedar St., Snohomish; 360-568-8648.

Pastels in Edmonds: An exhibit of works by pastel artist Janis C. Graves goes on view Monday at Gallery North, 508 Main St., Edmonds. Graves is an award-winning pastel artist whose paintings have been featured in numerous exhibits, including on the Washington State ferry Cathlamet, on the Mukilteo-Clinton run. Her “Sunset Reflection” is displayed on the boat.

The show runs through Jan. 2. Meet the artist at a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 16, which coincides with Art Walk Thursday in downtown Edmonds; 425-774-0946.

Group show: “Big Picture” is the title of a group show this month at Art Boutique in the Everett Public Market. Eighteen artists are showing large-scale paintings and photographs in an exhibit organized by gallery owner Lyussy Hyder, who came up with the idea after an artist expressed reluctance at bringing a big painting into the small gallery space.

But large-scale works look good in the gallery, according to Hyder. Art Boutique is located the main floor of the Public Market. The space is small, but the gallery has an open feeling because of the high ceilings and a large window that frames a view of Port Gardner Bay.

Participating artists include Gail Benefield, Roxy Beckman, Suzanne deCillia, Shannon Danks, Helen Feeney, Cathy Gemkow, Susie Howell, Josey Jensen, Roxanne Jaross, Sally Logan, Sue Ellen Longwell, Jerry McCollum, Janet Myer, Ardeth Overbay, Mike Sabatini, John Vistaunet, Tami White and Hyder.

“Big Picture” is on view through Dec. 27 at Art Boutique, 2804 Grand Ave., Everett; 425-501-2448.

Illustration as art: “The Art of Illustration” opens Saturday at the Point Elliot Gallery in Mukilteo. The exhibit features original work by children’s book illustrators Gudrun Ongman, Alexandra Day, Richard Jesse Watson, Ted Rand, Mike Cressy and Chris Bivins.

Cressy will be at the gallery from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday with copies of “The Great Show and Tell,” a children’s book written by Mike Reiss for which Cressy did the illustrations.

On Dec. 11, Richard Watson, illustrator of “One Wintry Night” by Ruth Bell Graham, will be in the gallery, and Dec. 18 brings Ongman, author and illustrator of “Sleep Ponies.”

Glass artists Steve Goodridge and Jose Hinahosa will be in the hot shop from 10 am to 6 p.m. each Saturday demonstrating glassblowing techniques and showing visitors how they can blow a glass Christmas ornament.

Point Elliott Art Center is located at 724 First St., Mukilteo; 425-347-8480, 425-308-5503.

Art tour: The Lummi Island Artists’ Studio Tour will feature 15 artists and craftspeople at 10 locations open for public tours this weekend.

Artists will be showing paintings, pottery, jewelry, note cards, fiber art, stonework, garden and herbal products, furniture, sculpture, glass and more. Look for the Christmas bazaar at the Grange. Stops on the tour will be marked with balloons.

The tour is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. To get there, take I-5 exit 260 north of Bellingham, go west on Slater Road to Haxton Way. The ferry leaves at 10 past every hour ($3 per car, $1 per person).

Information,, 360-758-7121, 360-758-7499.

Photos of fishing on Spirit Lake (left), a canoe in still water (below left) and canoe races in Coupeville are some of the Orville Borgersen photos on display at The Blue Heron Studio Gallery in Coupe-ville.

Pastels by Janis C. Graves are on view at Gallery North in Edmonds.

The “Big Picture” group show is on view through Dec. 27 at Art Boutique in Everett.

Glassblower Steve Goodridge demonstrates glassblowing at the Point Elliott Art Center.

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